I heard about a ‘Drum Circle’ at the bell tower of our local university. It’s a small university in a small city, and rather close to our home. We decided to check it out. I assumed we would stay, listen for a few minutes while the boys ran around, and then head home. We always love to let the boys listen to live music in low pressure situations – they’re too unpredictable to take to expensive concerts, but they love live music.
We headed over to the bell tower, stopping occasionally as we walked to listen to the sound of the drums even before we could see them. They carried a long way.
We sat on a wall by the fountain as we watched the drums. One of the drummers came towards us and explained that they were a percussion club, and that the drum circle was open to anyone – including our little boys.
Luke was situated at two small drums on a stand, and each boy was given a plastic maraca to play. I decided to take pictures and supervise the boys. I was uncomfortable, afraid of attempting something i might not be able to do very well.
Two and three year old boys have no such fear. They shook the maracas wildly at first, but I encouraged them to listen and play with the rhythm of the other drummers.
One of the drummers played a shaking instrument, almost like a jar covered with beads, and he played right next to our boys so they could catch the rhythm easily, seeing it as well as hearing it.
Aiden did very well! Kieron got tired after several minutes. Luke turned the drums over to Aiden, then let Kieron wander the campus green.
Aiden played the drums happily, then someone gave him drumsticks.
By this time the beat had got to me. I was drumming on the back of the chair and then took aiden’s maraca when he was done with it. When a new group of people came, i gave them the maraca. I tried to share aiden’s drum.
He told me i should clap, instead.
By this point, I couldn’t NOT help make the music. I clapped, I played a scraper instrument that made a funny sound, and eventually I did share Aiden’s drum. The whole while i reminded Aiden, listen to the rest of the group, play with them.
There was a pretty big group were club members and visitors like us. Mostly traditional students, but a few older and younger people. Band geeks and cool kids, cool band geeks. There was a guy with his own Australian Didgeridoo. And we all drummed together for a long time.
Aiden listened and played and did superbly, for a three year old especially, at staying in rhythm. He stayed at a good volume too, but his favorite parts were when the leader told us to crescendo to the loudest we possibly could play. Then we beat the drums hard and loud and fast until suddenly,
And then we all applauded each other.
Aiden and I drummed for a whole hour, until kieron was too cranky, the group started to get too big for the number of instruments, and my hands started to get too sore. Then we came home.
It’s been too long since I’ve made music in a group. I forgot how good it feels.
If you ever get the chance to go to a drum circle, you should try it. Even if you don’t think you have enough of a sense of rhythm on your own, you can listen and let the group carry you, and help make some music.